The Pentagon is sending the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It’s the second carrier strike group to be sent to the region in the wake of the Hamas terrorist group’s deadly and massive assault on Israel.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made the announcement late on Saturday, Oct. 14. The move comes “as part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.”
In addition to the aircraft carrier itself, the strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 3 comprising nine aircraft squadrons, plus the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyers USS Gravely and USS Mason.
The decision comes a week after the terrorist group Hamas sent fighters and rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds over the weekend. Since last Saturday, the Israeli Defense Force has been heavily bombarding the occupied territory of the Gaza Strip. The current Israeli government said the nation is “at war.” On Friday, Israel ordered residents of the Gaza Strip to evacuate the northern half of the territory ahead of likely military action. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely packed areas on Earth, home to two million people.
The IDF has conducted a small raid into Gaza. However, there has not been a large-scale ground offensive into the Gaza Strip yet; the IDF has been mobilizing forces.
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At least 27 Americans have died since the Oct. 7 attacks.
On Sunday, Oct. 8, Austin ordered the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to move to the eastern Mediterranean as a deterrent. In addition, the Pentagon said it would be bolstering the number of aircraft in the region, including A-10 Warthogs and fighter jets such as the F-16. The first group of additional A-10 Warthogs arrived in the region at the end of this past week.
Since the Oct. 7 attacks, more than 3,000 people have died in total across Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the occupied West Bank. Thousands more are reported injured.
The White House and Department of Defense have repeatedly affirmed American support for Israel in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack. In addition to the two carrier strike groups, the U.S. is supplying Israel with additional military equipment, including munitions and interceptors for the country’s Iron Dome defense system.
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